How I met Barack Obama

My job as a small town reporter/editor 
was a catalyst for meeting people. Who could have guessed at that time that 
this Senate candidate would become the 44th President of the United States?

In 2004, I had the privilege to meet Barack Obama. As part of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, he walked in the Fourth of July parade which happened to go past my Beecher, Illinois home. Who knew when I met him and posed for this picture that Barack Obama would become the 44th President of the United States? And who could have predicted that his candidacy for a second term would result in so much rancor that it would divide the country.

Like so many others, I was inspired by Obama's candidacy. He ran on a positive platform built on hope and change in the way our government operates. After the chaos created by eight years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, I was anxious to give Obama every chance possible to right some of the wrongs that had been done.

I remain committed to the same ideals that drove me to vote for Obama during his first term. I am not willing to give up on Obama as he runs for a second term. 

I'm certain his first term has been a time of education and reflection for him. Though not much has changed in the nation's capitol and there is little hope that anything will change in the near future, I cannot and will not lay the blame entirely on Obama, when I see the reluctance of the Republicans who dig in their heels to oppose every initiative he has proposed, even those needed and wanted by the American people. Despite Obama's approval ratings being below what anyone would like, I believe the current economic conditions in the country have little to do with Obama or his policies. The downward slide the country has taken began a long time ago but was accelerated by the actions of Bush/Cheney. 

That is not to say I am not disappointed in some of Obama's decisions. Most notably, I disagreed with his refusal to end tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans--tax cuts imposed by his predecessor. Living on a pension, my husband and I are feeling the economic downturn as much as anyone. We were doing pretty well until the cost of food, gas, and all other life essentials began to skyrocket. 

The other major issue that defies logic in my mind is the continuance of military action in the Middle East, now involving several different countries.

Obama pledged to bring the troops home. He did end the war in Iraq, but I want to see all war in the Middle East come to an end. That was a major tenet of my support of his candidacy. War is barbaric. One of my greatest hopes is that as human beings we would finally evolve beyond settling our differences with bloodshed. 

Obama is also weak on the environment. I believe climate change will be our biggest challenge in the coming years. I'm also quite concerned about food safety, corporate influence, and a too-cavalier attitude about gun violence. 

I recognize that neither I, nor any other progressively-minded citizen of this country will ever get everything we want. The world is not visible to me through only a black and white lens. There are so many gray areas. Therefore, I can be patient. Unlike some of Obama's formerly ardent supporters that have abandoned him, I am not inclined to join them. I see no one on the national stage, of either party, that would be able to do a better job. Obama is strong, intelligent. He is tolerant and diplomatic. He has decorum and is respectful. I believe Obama is truly amazed at the kind of people he finds himself dealing with in the U.S. Congress. 

I believe Obama is up to the task. The change that needs to take place in Washington is to replace congressional members that refuse to see past their own noses or worse yet, past the pocketbook of their campaign donors. Obama needs a congress he can work with. 
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